Sabtu, 05 Februari 2011

Listen to your Package Manager - It Knows what it is Talking About!

Many people instinctively click through any popup window that appears on their screen when they are trying to accomplish a task. A good deal of these people do not even read the message that is presented to them, they simply look for the Close/OK/Next/Yes button so they can move on with what they are trying to do on their computer. I am fairly certain this behavior has been ingrained into the minds of the masses from having to deal with popup windows when surfing the internet, popups are distracting and are almost never useful.

Almost never.

There was an issue with one of the repositories that Bodhi uses this week. Even thought we are based around Ubuntu 10.04, some of the backporting the team does causes some core Ubuntu packages for 10.04 to no longer be compatible. Not a big deal, we roll our own for these few packages.

One thing we had not counted on was the few backports Ubuntu provides to it's LTS releases and this week one of these backports was the package xserver-xorg-video-geode. As you might have guessed this is one of those packages that is no longer backwards compatibly with Bodhi. In fact, if you went to upgrade this package via apt-get or one of it's GUI front end such as Synaptic you would be presented with a warning message telling you that installing this new package may break your system along with a list of conflicting packages that would be removed (nearly the entire system).

Thats a pretty good warning message, I wasn't terribly concerned about getting this one package corrected right away - I had other more pressing things to work on.

Boy was that a mistake!

Even with the cryptic message about the package possibly breaking your system and only to proceed if you knew exactly what you where doing - I was contacted by half a dozen people who where all wondering why their system was no longer functioning. I didn't realize what they had all done at first, but once I pieced it together I decided it was worth the half hour it was going to take for me to get a Bodhi compatible version of this xorg package into the repository.

The moral of my little story here? Listen to your package manager! (that and I need to stay on top of the lucid backports a little bit better) Whenever you are doing anything on a GNU/Linux system that requires the root password you should be sure to understand everything that is going to be done to the system before agreeing to it. This can save you a lot of headaches and broken machines down the line!

~Jeff Hoogland

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